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Workshop of Domenico Ghirlandaio, Inventory of a Legacy of the Magistrates, late fifteenth century. Fresco. Florence, San Martino dei Buononimi. Photo: Scala, Florence.

During our archival work we encountered many dress and textile terms, some of which are more familiar and others more obscure. 
We have compiled a glossary of the most common dress and textile terms that we found in our records from Florence, Siena and Venice, 1550-1650. These are based mainly on lists of garments that were owned by ordinary artisans and shopkeepers. We have tried to provide explanations and interpretations for the meanings of these terms, using both primary and secondary sources. Every entry contains concrete examples from our archival data. 
Feel free to explore the extensive glossary of terms below. The list is in alphabetical order. 

Sources used: Chiara Buss, Jo Kirby, Luca Mola, Orsi landini, Currie glossary and Fashion and Masculinity, Florio dictionary, Corsuccio and Dolce colour works, Herald glossary, Frick glossary, Dizionario armi defensive, Dictionary of Fashion History Etimo, Archival sources from 1550-1650: Archivio di stato, Siena, Curia del Placito; Archivio di Stato di Venezia; Giudice di Petizion, Cancelleria Inferiore Miscellaneo, Giudici dell’Esaminador Archivio di Stato di Firenze: Magistrato dei Pupilli.






A generic term for a dress or a gown. 
In our data, there are varying sorts of abiti, incuding baptismal dresses and religious habits. Many examples of abiti were fashioned from fine materials, including tabi, velluto, drappo, and damaschetto. Some also boasted elaborate textile techniques such as figuring (a opera). 


A natural fiber derived from flax, cotton, or hemp; spun into a yarn to be woven. 

In our data, accia was used to fashion a variety of garments, including hose, breeches, and petticoats, and accessories, such as scarves and handkerchiefs. The material could also be mixed with different sorts of wools, silks, and other natural fibers. 

Ad ago 


Needlework was recorded for both clothing and accessories, including sleeves, hose/breeches, gloves, collars, stockings, and socks. 

In our data, there are a few examples of merletti being crafted with  needle  (“ad ago”). For instance, in a Venetian clothes-seller’s household, there were four pieces of merletti that had been fashioned from needlework (“pezze 4 merlo con mostre in aggo pezze 4”). 




A Venetian baker, for example, owned five pairs of woolen socks or stockings, one of which was described as guchiade (“Calzette da homo para n. cinque cioe un par de guchiadi et 4 de panno”)  


A halberd, which is a polearm that possesses both a spear and a battleaxe. 


A Sienese miller’s inventory noted the presence of a halberd. 




In our data, ambra appeared in two belts and a fan. In the inventory of a Florentine stone-cutter, a black amber in a belt was recorded. 


Aquamarine blue 


Shade of golden yellow, or orange tawny, darker than dorato. Similar to the colour of saffron, or zafrano. 


Silver colour, light grey deriving from berettino. 




Silver was a popular choice for adorning clothing and accessories in our data. Its uses were varied, and the material could be added to anything from thread to swords to hair ornaments. Gilded silver, as well as false silver, also appear. 



A braid ornament. 


There are examples of attrecciolatoi from Siena in the database, some of which are adorned in gold, silver, beads, and silk. 




In our data, ivory was most commonly used to fashion combs and fans. A Florentine innkeeper’s household, for instance, noted the presence of an ivory comb that was broken (“un pettine di avorio rotto”). 


A shade of dark red, or wine colour, that became newly popular the second half of the 16th century. Florio describes this as a ‘kind of ripe grape colour’. This red was dyed only with redwoods. 


Common term for blue, usually of darkish colour. The term was considered old-fashioned by mid-seventeenth century. 


Azzurro sbiavato referred to a light blue version of the colour, verging towards white. 


Azzurro in our data is mostly associated  with gowns, petticoats, and aprons, sometimes . with hose, and often in trims, scarves, and sleeves. The primary materials for blue garments are both silk and wool, followed by linens and cottons, and mixed fabrics.  



Thick wool, sometimes referred to as baize, often used for linings. 


In our data, this wool was only recorded in Florence and it was used to create gowns, petticoats, cloaks, cassocks, and breeches. A delicatessen operator’s inventory recorded an over-gown, zimarra, fashioned from black baietta (“una zimarra di baietta nera”). 




There are 12 mentions of balestre recorded in our database. A wide variety of professions owned crossbows, including a miller, sausage-maker, weaver, and greengrocer. 


Some sort of trimming or decoration adorning a gown’s hemline. 


There are two inventories that mention balzane in our data. They found in the household possessions of a spun-cotton seller and feather-dealer, both in Venice.  


Bombast; cotton wool or cotton, or on occasion linen used for padding or lining. 


Bambagia appears frequently in the data collected. This versatile natural fiber was used a variety of garments, including gowns, sleeves, aprons, hose, breeches, doublets, shirts, petticoats, and scarves. 


A band or narrow guard fastened to a garment’s hem. 


In our data, silk was commonly used to fashion bands, and although they appeared to come in many colors, black seems to have been a popular choice. A Florentine silk weaver’s inventory, for instance, noted the presence of a cloak fashioned in the Spanish style from black wool with a silk band (“una cappa alla spagnuola di panno nero bandata di raso”). 


Coarse mixed cloth with a pile; might have been originally of goat pile. 


In our data, this mixed fabric was a popular choice for cloaks, which were commonly fashioned in black, grey, and green. 




Popular in Venice, bassetta was commonly used for lining clothing and appeared in black and white.  


A catch-all term for waste-silk thread. Florio defines it as ‘all manner of rawe silke’. 


In our data, bavella only appeared in Venice. The material was used for a variety of garments, including gowns, sleeves, cloaks, and petticoats. The inventory of a smith, for instance, noted the presence of a yellow petticoat fashioned from bavella (“una carpetta di bavellon zalla”).  Bavella could also be used to fashion cheaper versions of knitted silk stockings. 


A collar, or a cape around the neck. 


There are over 100 baveri listed in our data, many of which were fashioned from various types of silk and natural fibers and adorned with gold, silver, embroidery, and trimming. 


A wide ribbon, commonly used as a garter for stockings. 


In our data, the majority of becche were fashioned from silk. An inventory of a Florentine carpenter, for instance, recorded four silk becche in varying colors (“quattro becche di ermisino di varii colori”). 


Grey or ash-colour, or a middle-grey, with shades of blue. A dark berettino verging heavily towards pavonazzo was called berettin purpureo or violato, while beretino chiaro (light) for a very light grey was used to create dove-tinted grey. A silver colour,  or argentine, was also a light version light version of berettino.  


A beret. Florio defines the term as “a little cap or bonet.” 


There are over 500 berrette in the data. The caps were fashioned from several types of wool, silk, mixed fabrics, and natural fibers, and were found in various colors, including black, white, red, and green. The data also includes one furry cap specifically described as  ‘Sienese’.  


A light, faded shade of blue.  


The colour was relatively rare in our data. We find two used aprons and other linens described in biado.  




White represented purity for women and chastity for men.  



A shade of grey, verging on black. 


A fine, silky linen, commonly used for embroidered fabrics. 


In our data, aprons, scarves, coifs, and collars were commonly fashioned out of bisso.  


A type of cotton or linen fabric. According to Florio, “boccasino,” was defined as “properly, such stuffe as we call buckram.” Could also refer to  a single garment for a woman. 


In our data, boccassini appeared only in Venetian inventories and was most utilized to fashion aprons.  


A cheap cotton or linen, similar to fustian. 


Popular in Venice, bombasina was most frequently used to fashion veils. An innkeeper’s household, for instance, recorded three bombasina veils (“tre velli de bombaso”).  




There are eight inventories that mention studs in our data, most of which were fashioned in gold. For example, a hat with 28 gold borchie was recorded in a Sienese blacksmith’s inventory.  


A strong, smooth cloth of cotton, frequently striped. Florio describes it as “a kinde of silke stuffe woven”. Bordo could also refer to an edgings or a border. 


In our data, bordo was popular in Siena and was commonly used to fashion gowns, cloaks, and shirts.  


A purse or bag, that usually hung from a belt. 


In our data, many borse were fashioned from various types of silk, including ormesino, taffeta, velluto, and raso. 


A type of low-cost linen or cotton cloth, similar to fustian.  


Popular in Venice, this natural fiber was used to make aprons, shirts, breeches, and scarves. 




There are over  thousand buttons recorded in our data, several of which were made in silver, gold, and silk. It appears that imitations also occurred, as seen in the inventory of Florentine linen merchant, whose household possessed a velvet zimarra with 22 small buttons fashioned from false gold (“una zimarra di velluto volto piano con numero 22 bottoncini falsi fornita d’oro”). 


Trunk hose or breeches for boys. 


Examples from the database denote that these were worn by young boys, ragazzi. 


Trunk hose or breeches for men, unless otherwise stated. Could be referred to also as calzoni. 


In the documents examined, these were fashioned in a wide variety of materials and colors. Although calze often referred to stockings in this period, the term could also refer to ‘hose’. Our data includes, for example, Calze for riding (da cavalcare). 


Codpiece, which served as a fly for the opening of the trunk-hose.  


Orsi Landini notes that codpieces were often left out of inventories, as these were taken for granted as being part of the calze or calzoni. 

Brazzali (V) 

A term used in Venice for a small scarf of kerchief. 


The inventory of a clothes-seller and dyer in Venice recorded the presence of a box with old brazzali for women inside 

(“una scatola con brazzali vechi da dona”). 


Brocade, generally a raised pattern on a silk textile sewn in silver or gold. 


In our data, it was common for brocade to be fashioned in gold. For instance, a gown of red velvet brocaded in gold was noted in the inventory of a Venetian rag-dealer (“una cotola de veludo rosso brochada doro”).  


A type of mixed fabric comprised of some combination of silk warp and weft of waste-silk, linen, flax, and/or cotton.  


In our data, brocatello was mostly recorded in Venetian inventories. The silk material appeared in a variety of colors and was commonly used to fashion gowns and petticoats for women and children. 










Transparent mixed cloth often decorated, or a gauze-weave fabric, with a silk warp and wool weft. 


Buratto appeared frequently in our data. The mixed fabric was a popular choice for a variety of garments, and although it appeared in several colors, black was the most popular color recorded. The inventory of a leather dealer in Siena, for instance, noted the presence of black buratto sleeves (“un paio di maniche di buratto negro”). 


Bodice for women or a doublet without sleeves worn by men. 


Examples from the database come in a variety of colors, including bigio, fiori di spigo, dore, tane, bianco, nero, giallo, and pavonazzo. Some are even multicolored. 

Caftano (V) 

Florio defines the term (caffettàno) as “a cassocke, a gabardine, a cloke or such like garment.” 
In our data, this term only appeared in Venice, and the gown was typically made from wool in the color black. 


A type of wool fabric, or occasionally of silk. 


There are four garments that were fashioned from calissi in the database.  


Stockings or socks. 


There are numerous entries in our database that recorded stockings, made of wool, silk or linen, many of which were knitted. The popular accessory was worn by men, women, and children, and came in a variety of fabrics and colors. If a garment was in poor condition, it was often noted in the entry by stating that the object was old, used, damaged, and/or dirty. 


Breeches for men. Often laced to doublets to keep them in place. 
In our data, these were often crafted from natural fibers, wools, silks, leather, or mixed fabric and could also possess various finishing techniques.  


Cambric, a type of fine linen cloth originating from Chambray. 


Popular in Venice, cambrese was a natural fiber commonly used for aprons, sleeves, cuffs, and bands. A wool-cloth seller’s inventory possessed a pair of oversleeves crafted from a coarse style cambrese (“un par di sopramaniche di cambrada grossa). 


Shirt or smock worn by both men, women, and children. 


Camicie are one of the most frequently cited garments in the data. They were commonly made from natural fibers, including tela, lino, and rensa; however, examples fashioned in various types of wool and silk also appear.  


Garment meant to cover the trunk of the body, with or without sleeves. Could be worn for bed or over a shirt. Often made from wool and knitted for extra warmth.  


Examples from the database demonstrate that it was frequently fashioned in red. Camiciole for giving birth (da parto) are also recorded.  


Chamois, a type of leather. 


In our data, camoscio was commonly used to fashion doublets, hose, breeches, and stockings. A Sienese leather-tanner, for instance, owned a purple camoscio doublet with sleeves (“un giubbone di camozza pavonazza co maniche”). Camoscio was frequently also used for leather  jerkins and gloves. 


Canvas, a coarse linen cloth or a mixed cloth combining silk, silk waste, and flax.   


In our data, items made with canevaccio were particularly common in Venice. It was commonly used for making a variety of garments, including doublets, sleeves, and gowns. A Venetian spinner’s household, for instance, recorded an old, black doublet fashioned from canevaccio (“un zipon de canevazzetta nero vechio”). 

 This fabric could also be embroidered (canevaccio a opera) or trimmed with costly materials  


Canions; upper hose that extended from the trunk-hose to the knees. 


In our data, a second-hand dealer in Siena owned a pair of leather trunk hose with canions fashioned from mocaiardo and black lace (“un par di calze di cuoro co cannoni di mocaiardo e trine nere”). 


A type of waste silk, produced from defected cocoons. 


This type of cheap silk was a popular choice for making gowns, cloaks, sleeves, cassocks, and breeches in our data. The inventory of a Venetian smith, for instance, recorded a pair of black capicciola sleeves with black fringe (“un paro di maneghe di capizzola negre con franze negre). 


Cloak for outdoor use, including horse-back riding. Could also be fashioned with a hood. 


Both men and women wore cappe. In our data, the cape was commonly produced in black. 


A hat. Styles, materials, and shapes varied; however, many were fashioned in felt.  


The data includes nearly 1000 cappelli, demonstrating that hats of different shapes and materials were commonly used by men, women and children.  Many of these were fashioned from black felt, as exemplified in this entry for a Florentine carpenter (“1 cappello di feltro nero”). Straw and silk hats were also commonly recorded.  


Short cloak or cape with sleeves, sometimes called the Dutch cloak. Often made from lush materials for use in winter.  


In our data, cappotti appear to have been elegant garments that were often trimmed and/or lined. 


A hood. 


There are only two examples in the data, one of which was pink (“1 cappuccio rosato), the other in felt, trimmed in black (“Un cappuccio da feltro guarnito di nero”). 

Carisea (V) 

Probably a type of silk fabric. 


In our data, carisea was only recorded in Venice and the silk appeared in a variety of colors, including blue, yellow, and white. The inventory of a rag-dealer noted the presence of a new cassock fashioned from white carisea (“una cassacha nova de carisea latada”). 

Carpetta (V) 

A Venetian term for a skirt worn by women and children. 


Examples in the database stem from Venice and come in a variety of fabrics and colors. Trims, linings, embroidery, and figuring were also common finishings for carpette. Some entries also denote where the garment should be worn, such as in the home (carpetta da casa). 


Long or short-sleeved cassock that covered the torso and had a skirt. Derived from the cioppettella. 


In our data, they were frequently made for men in the colors of nero, bigio, tane, and verde. 

Casso (V) 

Venetian term for a bodice or bustier, without sleeves. Florio defines the term as “also a bodie from the necke to the thigh, the stomack.” 


In our database, cassi were usually worn by women. 


A type of heavy silk, or plush, used often for linings. Florio defines the term as “a kind of thicke and shaggy plush to line garments with.”  


In our data, cataluffa was predominately found in Sienese inventories. A little baptismal cloak made the material was found, for instance, in the household of a baker in the city (“uno mantelino da battesimo di cataluffo”). 

Cavezzi (V) 

A Venetian term for a sort of a collar, often of lace. 


In our data, if cavezzi were present, they were frequently noted alongside their corresponding shirts for women in Venice. 


Sky blue or a medium blue; a very light version of turchino, achieved by  a light wad-base (later even lighter bath of indigo). 


This hue was thought to be very poor, because it was considered ‘sbiadata’, or faded. The concept of good colour at this date was still based on good dyestuff in a large quantity. 

Cendalo/zendalo (V) 

Cendal, a light fine cloth of raw silk or cotton, typically decorated with stripes. 


In our data, cendalo was used to fashion a variety of garments, including petticoats, gowns, doublets, breeches, and scarves. It was also commonly used for linings, as seen in the inventory of a spinner, which recorded the presence of a mixed-fabric cloak lined in cendalo (“un ferariol ferandina fodra cenda.” 




Centigili appear to have been popular in Siena in our data. Typically fashioned from gold, the accessories adorned felt hats. For instance, the inventory of a saddler in Siena recorded the presence of a black felt hat with a centiglio of gold (“un cappello di feltro nero con centiglio di oro”). 


A scarf or handkerchief made from the fabric called ciambellotto (camlet). Also see cambellotto. 


These accessories came in a variety of colors, including pink, black, green, blue, white, yellow, and red. They were often adorned with trimming, slashing, and stamping, like the Sienese butcher’s stamped, turquoise ciambellotto trimmed in silk (“un ciambelotto turchino stampato guarnito di seta”). 




Camlet, which was once fashioned from camel or goat’s hair. In our period, it was likely crafted from wool or silk cloth. The term could also refer to any sort of expensive mixed fabric or to the color of camel hair. Also spelled cambellotto 


In our data, there are over 800 items fashioned from ciambellotto. A Sienese painter, for instance, possessed a girl’s striped gown made from ciambelotto (“una zimarrina in vesta di ciambelotto stangato per detta fanciulla”). The mixed fabric was used to create several different types of garments and although it came in variety of colors, black was by far the most popular. 


A belt or girdle, worn by men and women.  


There are over 150 belt mentioned in the data, some of which were fashioned from velvet, taffeta, leather, gold, silver, and/or amber. In a Florentine fishmonger’s inventory, for example, “a little belt of rich velvet with 15 gold studs with pearls (un cinturino di velluto riccio con borchiette quindici d’oro con perle)” was recorded.  

Cintura da spada 

Sword belt. 


In our data, there were two sword belts recorded, both owned by Florentine arms makers. They were both in poor condition, as they were described as “cattiva.” 


An over-garment, often with long, hanging sleeves.  


Commonly fashioned in various types of black wool in the examples from the database. A cioppa made for a widow (da vedove) was also recorded. Elizabeth Currie notes that Florentine state officials wore these in the quattrocento; however, they were all but obsolete by the cinquecento. 


Short or long train of a woman’s dress. 


In our data, trains were often listed alongside the dresses they accompanied, as seen in this entry of “a gown with a brown train made from erbazzo (una vestura con coda roana d’erbazo).” 


A collar.  


The data includes over 1500 collars, which were owned by men, women, and children. They appear to have been fashioned from a variety of materials, including wool, natural fibers, and silk. 


A jerkin, which is a sleeveless upper garment. Colletti di dante were jerkins made from the fallow deer skin. 


In our data, many colletti were fashioned from leather and possessed various types of finishings. These were sometimes perfumed. 


A ‘dove colour’. Beautiful shade of grey with a hint of white, red and blue. 


A generic term for a knife. 


A Florentine carpenter’s inventory noted the presence of a knife with a black-and-white handle with silver ring and tip (“un coltello con manicha biancha et nera con ghiera et puntale di argento”). 

Comesso (V) 

Probably an  “under-bodice”, like sottobusto. 


Many of the examples in our database appear to have been crafted from plant fibers. 


A hair ornament, or any dressing ornament. 


In our data, gold and silver were frequently used to fashion these elaborate hair accessories. For example, a Venetian eye-glass maker’s inventory noted the presence of “a small conciere of gold for a woman (un concier d’oro piccolo da donna).” 

Copertura (V) 

Covering for fabric. 


In the database, some coperture were crafted from fine materials and adorned with intricate textile designs. In the inventory of a Venetian flour-seller and barrell maker, for instance, “a small red cover with embroidery (una covertina di scarlatin con recamo)” 

was recorded. 






Coral was used to adorn pieces of jewelry and trimmings. A Sienese shoemaker’s inventory, for instance, recorded a braid with coral and little silver studs (“una treccia di coralli co bottoncini di argento”). 


Cords, usually made of gold and silk. These could be used as laces, ribbons, and/or added to garments as finishings. 


In our data, there are several examples of cordelle, most of which were fashioned from silk, gold, silver, and fur. For instance a Florentine tailor’s household owned a “un cordone di raso verde ricamato d’oro”). 

Cordone/cordella da cappello 

Ornamental cords found on headwear. 


A Venetian investor’s inventory noted the presence of a silver cordella da cappello that had been pawned for three lire (“un cordon da capello d’argento in pegno per lire tre”). 


Cordovan, a type of leather made from treated goatskin. 


In our data, cordovano was used mostly for making jerkins and boots. The inventory of an arms maker in Florence, for instance, noted the presence of a pair of boots made from white cordovano (“1 paio di stivali di cordovano bianco”). 


Rosary beads. 


There are numerous examples of corone in our data. The reglious jewelry was fashioned from a variety of materials, including coral, amber, bone, ebony, wood, gold, silver, and/or glass. In elite contexts, corona also referred to an elaborate ornamental crown. 

Corpetto (V)  

A male doublet. See giubbone. 


Only one inventory in the database of artisan clothing mentions corpetti. Two, fashioned in white silk, were recorded in the household of a prosperous clothes-seller in Venice.  

Correggia da spada 

A strap or belt for a sword. Also see cintura da spada. Florio defines “correggia” as “a girt, a cingle, a stirrup leather, a strap, a scourge.” 


In our data, a Florentine stone-cutter owned two correggie da spada. 


Trunk hose, breeches, or the upper stocks of long hose. 


In our data, cosciali were crafted from varying sorts of wools and silks. 


Teased wool that creates a raised pile or little nubs on the surface.  


A Sienese linen-weaver’s inventory recorded three little gowns made from black contonato for minors (“tre zimarrine cotonate nere per i minori”). 


Cotton or linen. Also see bambagia. 


In our data, a variety of garments, most often gowns, cloaks, breeches, and linings, were fashioned from this natural fiber. 


A gown for women, which could have been worn under over-gown. 


Examples in the data also include cotte for children. 

Cravatta (V) 

An accessory that adorns the neck. It was generally an ornament of the neck, or a long towel worn around the collar. 


All cravatte found in our data were recorded in Venice. Wool was a popular choice for the accessory, which was frequently fashioned in purple, green, and brown. For instance, “an old cravatta of purple wool lined with fox fur” (Una crovata de pano pavonazzo fodra de volpe vechia 

 hemp-spinner) was present in a Venetian hemp-spinner’s household.  


Light or ‘small’ crimson. The huues could vary from purplish cherry red to orange like poppy. 


High-quality red, verging towards purple, dyed with crimson insect dye (cremisi, later cochineal). Cremisi was particularly shiny and wear-resistant. Together with reds that were dyed with grain, such as scarlatto, this red was the most precious colour of red available.  


In our data, kermes is most often dyed on silks and velvets, sometimes on mixed and imitation fabrics but rarely on wool or vegetables. It is most often found in  gowns and petticoats.  






Cyrstals were used for adding touches of adornment. A Sienese shopkeeper’s inventory, for instance, noted the presence of a gold hair net with pearls and crystal points tied by hand (“una rete d’oro co sue perluzze e pontali di cristallo legati a mano”). 


An ornamental hairnet, a coif or a snood worn over the hair. 


A cuffia was a common item; there are over 1000 cuffie recorded in the data. Some of these were plain line coifs, often worn or inside a hat, but many were designed to be worn as decorative acceessories. These were adorned with gold, silks, trimming, and embroidery. For instance, a Florentine butcher’s inventory noted the presence of “13 cuffie of various sorts worked in silk and one in gold” (“13 cuffie di piu sorte lavorate di seta et una d’oro).”  




Leather was a versatile material used to make a variety of garments in our data, some of which included sleeves, doublets, jerkins breeches, shoes, stockings, belts, and bags. For instance, a Florentine arms-maker’s household recorded a pair of black leather sleeves (“uno paio di maniche nere di quoio”). 


Brown colour that verged to black, similar to dark tanè. 

Da bruno 

In mourning; often associated with a garment. Bruno written without the article could also refer to the color brown. 


In our data, there are examples of various garments da bruno, including a giovannella, mantello, and a vesta. 


Damask, typically a single-color fabric of silk with a pattern woven into it. 


Damask was a frequently recorded textile in our inventories. It was commonly used to make gowns and petticoats and came in a variety of colors, including black, yellow, red, white, green, brown, grey, and purple.   


Fallow-deer skin. 


Dante was frequently used when creating a specific type of jerkin called a colletto di dante. In our data, four examples were recorded in the inventories of an innkeeper, clothes-seller, carpenter, and tailor. 




A Sienese leather tanner recorded the presence of a gold medallion with a diamond at the tip sewn into felt (“un centiglio di oro a punta di diamante cucito in feltro”). 


Florio defines it as “a kinde of course cotton or flanell.” 


Popular in Venice, dimitto was a natural fiber used to make a variety of garments. For instance,  


Thick cloth fashioned from linen and cotton, often with a raised stripe. Could also refer to a type of garment. 


In our data, dobreto appeared in a variety of colors; however, black and white seemed to have been the most popular. A Florentine linen-merchant, for instance, owned a white pair of breeches, along with a white shirt, (both worn) crafted from dobreto (“un paio di calzoni et una camiciuola di dobretto bianco usato”). 


The padding or an inner layering of fabrics in a garment. 


Some of the examples in the database were fashioned from bambagia and ulivello. 


Golden yellow colour, charged colour ‘similar to gold’. A darker shade of dorato was called (a)rancio.  


This was a realatively rarre colour in our data, possibly because it was new. The golden yellow (dore and doretto) in our data  is associated predominantly with silks, and exclusively petticoats and gowns. 


Silk cloth. 


In our data, drappo and drappetto were frequently used to make gowns, petticoats, and sleeves. The inventory of a Sienese book seller, for instance, noted the presence of a complete outfit (described as practically new), consisting of a gown, a petticoat and a bodice with sleeves of flesh colour, white, and purple, all of which was embellished with trimmings of gold and buttons (“un abito con zimarra sottana busto maniche di drappetto incarnato e bianco e pavonazza guarnito tutto il detto habito di guarnitioni di oro e bottoni quasi nuovo”). 

Duliman (V) 

A heavy coat or long gown fashioned in the Ottoman style popular in Venice. 


In our data, the duliman was found only in Venice and was most commonly fashioned in a variety of wools, silks, and natural fibers, which were dyed black or brown. It was also a common practice to line the garment. 


A sturdy and durable woollen fabric. 


In our data, durante was commonly used to craft gowns, petticoats, sleeves, and doublets. The inventory of a Sienese blacksmith recorded a turquoise and yellow gown made from durante. 

Erbazzo (V) 

A type of fabric fashioned from natural fibers used in Venice. 


Erbazzo only appeared in the data collected from Venetian inventories. A Venetian innkeeper, for instance, possessed a coat made from green erbazzo lined with white lambskin (“un pellizon d’herbazo verde fodra de bassette bianche”). 


A light weight silk taffeta, called sarcenet. 


This fabric was especially popular in our data from Siena. The inventory of an apothecary in the city, for instance, recorded the presence of a well-used petticoat crafted from red ermisino with embellishments of pink and white  

(“una sottana di ermisimo cremisi con guarnitione rosa e bianca usa bene”).  


A skirt. Could be attached to a bodice, doublet, or paired with a separate upper garment. Also see gonna. 


Falda only appears once in our data in an entry concerning a little dress found within a Venetian rag dealer’s inventory. 


A full skirt with wood or metal inserted to create a fuller silhouette. Also called a farthingale. 


In our data, five faldiglie were recorded and documented in the households of a greengrocer, two haberdashers, and a leather dealer. 


Swaddling bands for babies or bands for children. 


A clothes-seller in Venice, for instance, owned eight used fascie in the examples found in the data (“otto fasse per fantolini da infassar usate).” 

Fascia da citti 

Swaddling bands for babies. Also see fascia 


There are close to 50 inventories that mention fascia da citti in the database. In the inventory of a Sienese mattress-maker, for example, ten were described as old and new (“dieci fasce da citti vecchie e nuove”). 


A handkerchief, or a piece of square-shaped fabric for various purposes. 


There are nearly 10,000 different  types of fazzoletti mentioned in the database, many of which were fashioned in silk or natural fibers in black or white. These accessories were also commonly adorned with trimming, embroidery, or striping. In addition to the general category, fazzoletti specifically identified for the head (capo/testa), neck (collo), hand (mano), nose (naso), and shoulder (spalla) were also recorded. 


Plush, silk velvet with a long pile. 

Linings and muffs were popular choices made from felpa in our inventories. A Florentine linen-merchant possessed a red muff made from felpa with ribbons of silk (“un manicotto di felpa cremisino con nastri di seta”). 


Round, semicircular, three-quarter length cloak without sleeves or a hood worn by men, women, and children. 


There are numerous examples of this popular garment in the database, which appear in a variety of materials, colors, and styles. It was common for these garments to be embellished with linings, embroidery, trims and several textile techniques were utilized to create a lustrous (drappata), striped (stricha), or figured (a opera) effect.  


A light fabric fashioned from low-grade quality silk and wool. 


Black was a popular color for ferrandina in our data. For instance, a Sienese leather tanner’s inventory recorded the presence of a new black, striped ferrandina cloak with sleeves (“una turcha di ferrandina negra rigata co sue maniche nuova”). 


Light shade of green, like verde herba. 


Ribbon. Also see nastro. 


In our data, the inventory of a Florentine delicatessen owner recorded the presence of white fette on a pair of stockings (“1 paio di calze a fette di panno bianco con fodera e ginnocchielli di taffeta bianco ammezzate). 


Buckle or clasp. 


In our data, some fibbie were made from silver, tin, steel, and gold enamel. For instance, a Florentine linen-merchant owned a girl’s belt with a silver buckle (“una cinturina con una fibbia d’argento per la bambina”). 


Spun silk. 


Filaticcio was used to construct trimmings, clothing, and accessories in our data. The inventory of a second-hand dealer in Florence, for example, contained a used pink women’s shirt trimmed with a little rope made from turquoise filaticcio (“una camiciola da donna rossa usata guarnita di cordelina di filaticcio turchino”). 


A decorative trim or edging. 


In our data, furs and silks were most frequently used when crafting filetti. In the inventory of a Siense apothecary, for instance, a wool cassock with a silk edging was recorded (“una casacha di rascia con filetti di raso”). 


Thread or yarn. 

Filo d’oro, or gold thread, was also recorded, as seen in the belongings of a Sienese leather tanner, who owned eight little buttons crafted from gold yarn (“bottoncini di filo di oro numero otto”). 


A type of coarse silk fabric or thread made of waste silk. 


In our data, filusello was frequently used to make socks, stockings, and breeches. For example, a pair of green breeches made from filusello are recorded in the inventory of a spinner working in Venice. 


General term for a decorative finishing or a trimming. 

In our data, finimenti were frequently fashioned in gold. In the household of a Sienese tailor, for instance, a gown with sleeves and a bust of imitation velvet was fashioned in gold and yellow and trimmed with gold finishings (“una sottana con maniche e busto di vellutino dorè e giallo guarnita con fninimento di oro”). 


Tassels or bows, often came in pairs. 


In our data, fiochi only appeared in Venice. An innkeeper’s inventory in the city noted the presence of three pairs of fiochi in various colors (“tre para de fiochi de poste de piu colori”). 


A fabric made of natural fiber derived from flax, cotton, or hemp. 


Popular in Florence, this natural fiber was commonly used to fashion aprons, scarves, kerchiefs, and collars. For instance, a Florentine kiln-maker’s inventory documented the presence of a little painted drawer that held two scarves fashioned from (“uno cassettino dipinto drentovi dua fazzoletti di fiore da collo”). 


A lining. 


In our data, fodere were fashioned in a wide variety of leathers, furs, wools, silks, and natural fibers. There are also examples of shorter versions (da meza vita) recorded. 


A hair ornament, or a pin. 


In our data, ther are fourteen forcine mentioned, most of which were fashioned in silver. 


Trimming or edging. Florio defines items that were described “fornito” as “furnished, adorned, beautified, decked…”  


In our data, velvet was commonly used to trim garments. The inventory of Florentine butcher, for example, noted a black silk cloak trimmed with black velvet (“1 turca di drappo nero fornita di velluto nero”). 




There are numerous examples of fringe in our data. Frequently fashioned in silk, frangie appeared in a variety of colors. They could exist on their own or be attached to a garment. For instance, a Sienese hat-maker owned three piece of silk fringe (“tre pezze di francine di seta”), while the inventory for a Florentine wine seller recorded the presence of a small, worn mantle made of mixed fabrics with silk yellow fringe (“un mantellino di panno mistio con frangie di raso giallo usato bene”). 


A modest shade of grey. A friar’s grey, or colour of humiliation ‘worn by penitents’. 



Frisè, a heavy wollen cloth with a nap, similar to baietta, or coarse linen cloth, popular in Venice. 


Frisetto was commonly used to fashion gowns, cassocks, coats, and cloaks. A cassock made from frisetto and lined with fox fur (“una romana de frisetto fodera de volpe”) was recorded in the inventory of a dairy-product seller in Venice.  

Friso/frisetto (V) 

Fringe, edging or guards. Florio states that a “friso” is the same as a “fregio,” which he defines as “a fringe, a garde, a lace, a border, a welt, embroidery, ornament or garnishment about any garment.” 


In our data, friso only appeared in Venice. A spinner’s inventory in the city recorded a skirt of golden silk with a medium blue fringe (“una carpeta di raso doretto intaglia con un friso turchin”). 


An  elaborate head ornament. Florio defines the term as “a forhead peece, or headband… a square as women weare on their heads, a frontlet.” 


There are sixteen examples of frontali in our data, found only in Siena. These accessories were commonly fashioned in precious metals, like gold or silver, and adorned with pearls and/or stones. For instance, a braided gold frontale in good condition (“un frintale di una treccia di oro buono”) was recorded in a miller’s household, and “a frontale with seventeen rosettes with pearls (un frontale co diciassette rosette co perle)” was noted in a leather dealer’s inventory. 

Fuina (V) 

A type of stone marten fur popular in Venice. 


In our data, fuina was a popular choice for linings, edgings, and accessories. A Venetian barrel-maker’s inventory, for instance, recorded the presence of a black velvet muff lined with fuina (“una maniza de veludo negro fodra de fuine”). 


Fustian, a linen and cotton fabric that could range from light-to-medium in weight, similar to guarnello. 


In our data, fustagno was popular in Venice and it often appeared in black, white, or grey. It was frequently used to fashion sleeves, doublets, linings, and breeches. For example, a pair of worn-out grey fustagno breeches (“un paro di braghesse di fustagno arzentine strazzade”) were recorded in the inventory of a Venetian smith. 



A sleeved cloak meant for outdoor use. Often used for riding or in bad weather. 


Panno and griso, two types of wool, appeared to be common fabrics for making these garments in our data. 

Gallone (V) 

Woven or braided trim, often featuring gold or silver thread. 


In our data, gallone were frequently fashioned in gold and only appeared in Venice. The inventory of a fruit seller, for instance, noted a pair of breeches made from mocaiardo and trimmed with gold braids (“un paro de braghese de moccagiaro collorade guarnide con galloni d’oro”). 


Closed, simple gown with sleeves worn by women. Does not require a petticoat underneath, and is typically worn over the camicia. A gamurrino was a smaller version made for children. 


The examples in the database were commonly fashioned in wool and appeared in a variety of colors, including red (rosso), blue (azzurro or turchino), light pink (incarnato, rosasecca, or rosato), green (verdone), brown (tane), black (nero), yellow (giallo, dore, or giuggiolino), grey (bigio), or purple (pavonazzo). 

Ghelero (V) 

Possibly a type of an overgarment or vest. 


In our data, this garment only appeared in Venice, and appeared in many different materials, including various wools, silks, leathers, mixed fabrics, and natural fibers. The garment also came in several colors and was often trimmed and/or lined. 


A head ornament resembling a garland. Also used to secure a hair net. 


In the data, there are two ghirlande recorded, one of which was made from wired gold (“1 ghirlanda d’oro tirato”) and noted in a delicatessen operator’s inventory in Florence. 


Florio defines it as “a jacke of maile made like a corset, a jacket or shirt of maile.” The giacco could also be fashioned in fabric and then reinforced with mail armor. Both versions were typically worn under clothing. Also called zacho in Venice. 


In our data, these garments, one of which was fashioned with short-sleeves, were owned by a dyer, a miller, and a trumpet-player.  




General term for yellow. A lighter but bright shade of yellow, was called color limoncino. 


Yellow was used with caution because of an old tradition that gave yellow negative attributions (such as prostitution), but, according to Rublak, it became a colour of fashion and hugely popular colour in some peridos in towns such as Zurich.  


Giallo  is mostly found associated  with kirtles, petticoats, and gowns. It is also used moderately in doublets, cassocks, hose and sleeves, doublets and aprons, and it is quite common in trims.  


Most yellows items were silks, then linens, wool and mixed fabrics,  


Lace with a lily-shaped border. 


In our data, silver and gold were used to fashion giglietti. The inventory of an innkeeper in Florence, for instance, noted a pair of muffs with lace giglietti that were found among other items in a small box (“in una scatoletta entrovi una cuffia fornita d’oro, un paio di manichini con giglietti d’oro, dua paia di manichini semplici, un colletto da donna”). 


Canions, or decorative bands worn around the knee to join the garments worn on the upper and lower leg. 


The examples in the database were mostly fashioned from various grades of silk, including filaticcio, velluto, and taffeta 


A type of gown. 


Popular in Siena, giovanelle were fashioned from wool, mixed fabric, and silk. Giovanelle to be worn in mourning (da bruno) also appear in our data. 


A doublet worn by men, women, and children. 


There are nearly 1150 doublets listed in our data. They were made in a variety of mixed fabrics, wools, silks, natural fibers, and leathers. Although they appeared in many colors, black seems to have been a popular choice. 


A brilliant and charged yellow color with a reddish tone, bric-colour, or amberish brown, which derived from tanè. Lighter than leonato 


In our data, giuggiolino seems to be  a new colour which is used in doublets, gowns, hose, kirtles, sleeves -mostly on silk, but also wool.  



Skirt. Also called falda. 


In our data, these skirts were most commonly made from wools and/or mixed fabrics. 


A partlet, which is a garment that is worn on the neck and shoulders. Could also have a ruff or a collar. 


There are thirty-one examples of gorgiere in the data, seven of which were in the household of a Florentine carpenter and described as “7 ruffled gorgiere worked in white cloth (7 gorgiere increspate lavorate di bianco tessero).” 


Florio describes it as “an apron, a savegard, a halfe kirtle.” 


These commonplace garments were worn by men, women, and children. The examples in the database frequently appear in the colors brown, white, black, green, and yellow. 


Generic term for grey.  


Our data includes many shades of greys, including berettino, bertino, bigio, and grigio, all relatively common, as well as the novleties colombino and argentino.  


Grey colour is are used on all kinds of fabrics. In our data, grey is the colour commonly used for hose and stockings, but we also find grey cassocks, cloaks, doublets and sleeves.  


Grey is used most often on silk, then wool,  followed by linen and mixed fabrics.  




Grosgrain, a heavy, strong fabric commonly adorned with a raised stripe and fashioned from silk or wool. 


In our data, grossagrana frequently appeared in black, brown, yellow, grey, and green. The inventory of a Florentine innkeeper, for instance, recorded the presence of a black gown of mezza grossagrana with silk spinettes (“una zimarra di mezza grossa grana nera con spinette di seta”). 


A lightweight case for carrying a bladed weapon. Florio defines a “guaina” or a “giuagina” as “a sheathe or a scabbard.”  


A delicatessen operator in Borgo San Lorenzo in Florence possessed “a guaina of green velvet with a silver ring and tip (“una guaina di velluto verde con ghiera et puntale di argento).” 


Gloves, commonly lined with fur. 


Our data includes approximately 140 pairs of gloves. Leather, fur, and wool were commonly utilized materials. Most of these were functional, worn for warmth, but a number of gloves even among artisanal population were made of silk or decorated in various ways, as seen in this example from a Sienese bookseller: “a pair of gloves with silver finishings and black fringe (“un pari di guanti con finimenti di argento e frange nere”). 


Bodice or doublet worn by men and women. Florio calls it “a kind of a stomacher.” 


In our data, men and women in Venice owned the garment, which was most frequently fashioned out of red panno 




A cotton and/or linen fabric, as well as a loose-fitting dress worn by women. 


Most of the examples in our database were fashioned in white. 


A kind of thin linen and/or cotton fabric, commonly used for fashioning linings, undergarments, and very basic gowns. 


This natural fiber was commonly fashioned in black, white, or grey.  

In the inventory of a Florentine wine seller, for instance, the presence of a gown made from white guarnello trimmed with a rust-colored cloth (“una altra zimarra di guarnello biancho fornita di ruggine”) was recorded. 


General term for decoration or trimming 


In our data, there were several mentions of guarnizioni, most of which were fashioned from silk. Black was also a popular color. A green wool zimarra trimmed with silk  

(“una zimarra di saetta verdona guarnita con guarnitione di seta”). 




In our data, this padding was fashioned out of a variety of materials, including cotone, ermisino, velluto, sciamito, cotone di taffeta, and bombasina. 


Pale pink, flesh colour or ‘fleshy rose’, with shades of red and white in right balance. The colour was assimilated to a young person’s cheeks. Incaranto was close to the common colour rosa 


The finest flesh colour, incarnato di cremisi, was dyed with crimson insect dye. Accordin to Mola, it first in appear in Venice in 1527 and 1528, when some entrepereneurs used the colour to produce satins and tabbies, and it became hugely popular later in the century. 


In our data, incaranto is mostly found in kirtles, and cloaks and sleeves, most often of wool but also of silk.  



A plait, usually made of three or more strands, each consisting of two or three threads. Could be made of gold and applied in rows to cover e.g. the doublet.  


In our data, intrecciatura were often fashioned in gold, silver, silk, and/or wool. False gold and silver were also commonplace, as seen in the shop of a Florentine tailor who had six pieces of intrecciature for women with false silver (“6 pezze di intrecciature da donna con argento falso di braccia 24 lana”). 




Wool was commonly used to fashion clothing and accessories for men, women, and children. It was used for numerous kinds of garments and could also be knitted, as seen in the old, red knitted wool shirt (“una camisola rossa guchiada de lana vechia”) mentioned in a Venetian widow-maker’s inventory. 


A lance. 


The inventory of a Sienese smith notes the presence of a lancia in his household. 


Milky white 


Ruffs, material gathered at the neck and cuffs. 


Lattughe were frequently mentioned when discussing collars in our data. For instance, “a collar with lattughe for a man (“un collare con le lattughe da homo”) 

 was noted in the inventory of a Sienese trumpet-player. 




In our data, there are numerous examples of lavorazione, most commonly fashioned in silk, gold, and silver. For instance, a Florentine innkeeper’s inventory noted the presence of four women’s collars that have some embroidered gold and other sorts (“quattro collari da donna che alcuni con lavoro d’oro et altre sorte”). 

Lenzuolo da testa/mano (V) 

Veil or kerchief worn on the head and/or around arms. 


In our data, this term only appear in Venice. These were often of fine Dutch linen and decorated with lace. 


Tawny brown, reddish yellow or rust colour, deriving from tanè.  Florio calls this “the color of a lion”.  


Flax or linen. 


Lino was used in a variety of garments, including aprons, shirts, breeches, stockings, and socks. In our data, lino usually appeared in white or black.  


A strip of cloth used for adornment. 


Most liste in our database were fashioned from various types of silks, including raso, velluto, and ormesino, ermisino. A Florentine carpenter’s inventory, for instance, noted the presence of a pair of sleeves fashioned in natural fibers with red liste and a Sienese leather dealer’s inventory a pair of camlet sleeves with red satin liste. 


Otter skin, fur or leather. 


Two sleeves made from lontra (“due manicotti di londra”) were recorded in the inventory of a Sienese leather-worker. 


Fine wool twill. 


A used, light pinkish petticoat (“un camurrino di lucchesino incarnato uso”) was recorded in the inventory of a Sienese tailor. 


Traditional full-length over-gown that was worn in Florence. 


There is only one example of a lucco found in the database. Owned by a wool merchant, the garment was fashioned from wool and lined in taffeta. 




Knitted garments and accessories could also be trimmed or embroidered. For example, a Sienese hat maker’s household possessed three women’s scarves that had been knitted and  embroidered (“tre pannetti da collo lavorati per donna di maglia”). 

Maglia di ferro 

Mail armour shirt. 


The inventory of a Venetian baker, for instance, recorded the presence of a mail shirt that had been pawned for 60 lire (“un zacco in pegno per lire 60”). 

Maneghetto (V) 



In our data, maneghetti were found only in Venice and were worn by men, women, and children. They appear to have been commonly fashioned from natural fibers and silks. A coppersmith’s inventory, for instance, recorded two pairs of maneghetti that were comprised of a natural fiber called cambrese (“due para de manegheti de cambra lavoradi).” 


Sleeves, often detachable, which can appear in various styles. Usually long sleeves, unless otherwise noted. 


There are nearly 1,500 sleeves recorded in our database. Worn by men, women, and children, the garments were frequently fashioned in silks, wools, natural and mixed fibers. They were often finished with various kinds of adornments, including trimming, slashes, embroidery, and buttons. 


A muff, worn to keep hands warm. Also see manicotto. 


In our data, furs and silks were the most common materials used for manichini. Entries were fashioned in a variety of colors and frequently used by women and children. For instance, a green and gold velvet version was recorded in the inventory a Sienese linen-weaver (“un manichino di velludo verde e dorè”). 


Another term for a muff, worn to keep the hands warm. Also see manichino. 


Various types of furs and silks were frequently used to make muffs. A Florentine innkeeper’s inventory, for instance, recorded a manicotto fashioned from figured silk and lined with fox fur (“un manicotto d’ermisino a opere con mostra di golpe”). 


Mantle worn over clothes for warmth and protection of clothing. 


In our data, this cloak was commonly fashioned from black wool. 

Mantile (V) 

A handkerchief (could also refer to ordinary narrow table cloths or  napkins). 


In our data, mantili were commonly fashioned from natural fibers. Some were also adorned with figuring, trimming, and/or embroidery. 


Small coloured glass beads, typically sewn onto fabric. Florio defines them as “seede pearls”. 


An example in our data stems from a Sienese baker’s inventory, which records some black margaritine that adorned some collars (“collari vari margaritine nere”). 


A soft leather goatskin commonly used to make shoes. 


Three pairs of children’s shoes were recorded in the inventory of a Venetian cobbler (“para tre dette (scarpe) di marochin da putto”). 


Fabric mask, could also be worn while traveling. 


Masks were noted in eight inventories in our data. The two that included more detailed information denoted that the maschere were fashioned in black silk. 

Medaglia da cappello 

Medals, brooches, and/or cameos that adorn hats. 


Most of the medaglie for hats in our data were fashioned in gold. These were attached even to straw hats. A new straw hat with a gilded medal and white feathers was noted in the inventory Sienese baker, for example,  

(“un cappello di paglia nuovo con medaglia indorata e piume bianche”). 

Merletto (V) 

Needle or bobbin lace. 


There are numerous examples of merletti in our data. Silk, silver, and gold were commonly used when crafting these lace trims. A Venetian weigher’s inventory, for instance, noted the presence of a pair of black silk bags with silver merletti 

(“1 paro di poste di ermesino nere da mostre con merletti di argento”). 


A low-quality mixed wool. 


This economic wool was frequently recorded in our data and came in a variety of colors, including green, brown, black, grey, yellow, and red. The household of a Sienese shoemaker, for instance, possessed two children’s mantles of red and yellow (“due turche da citte di mezzalana rosse e gialle”). 


Mixed fabric often of wool and linen, or “mock velvet”, imitating the effect of velvet. 


Mocaiardo was used to make a wide variety of garments for men, women, and children. Linings and trimmings were also frequently used. The inventory of a Venetian dairy-seller, for instance, recorded the presence of a children’s gown fashioned from striped mocaiardo that had been lined with white leather  

(“una vestura da putto de mochaiaro vergado fodra de pelle bianche”). 


A type of brownish red wool, used frequently for linings and mourning gowns.  


The inventory of a Sienese silk-textile producer recorded the presence of a pair of breeches fashioned from monachino (“un paro di calsoni di monachino”). 


A lining or facing, typically fashioned in a different color so that it stands out. 


Many of the examples in the database were crafted from fine materials like silk and fur. 


A light cotton and/or wool cloth of muslin-like texture. 


In our data, this lightweight fabric was commonly used to fashion aprons, shirts, handkerchiefs, and scarves. A Venetian clothes-seller’s household, for instance, recorded the presence of an mussolo apron fashioned that had been decorated with lace (“traverssa mussolo con lavor d’aiere”). 

Muta (V) 

A Venetian term for a gown. 


In our data, there are numerous examples of mute recorded in Venetian inventories. The gowns were fashioned in a variety of materials, including wool, silk, mixed fabrics, natural fibers, fur, and/or leather. 


Drawers, underpants. 


In our data, these were typically fashioned from fabrics of natural fibers. 


Orange. ‘Naranzato’ means made in the colour of the fruit of orange. 


The colour is rare in our data but when it appears, it is connected to gowns, hose, petticoats, and coats. Orange is used mostly on silk, rarely on other fabrics.  


It is most often dyed on silk and used in gowns.  





There are several examples of nastri in our data, some of which were used for trimming, laces, and/or adornment. They could be fashioned from a variety of materials, including gold, silver, fur, silk, wool, and natural fibers. 


Black, which could come in many shades and qualtites. ‘True’, high-quality black, traditionally dyed with woad and madder, was one of the most difficult colours to dye and it was associated with nobility and wealth. Blakc was also the colour of high fashion by  1550s. But in the sixteenth century, many new methods and materials were available to dye cheaper vivid blacks, making it broadly available for social classes. 


Black was also associated with death   


Black in our data was mostly used in male and female gowns, in outer-garments such as cloaks and mantles, in cassocks, coats and doublets, hose and stockings, hats, sleeves, linings, and kirtles and petticoats. There are also quite many black scarves and a lot of black ribbons and trims. It is a rare colour, on the hand, in items such as bodices, aprons, and shirts. 

Black is most often on wool, followed by silks, then mixed fabrics, linens and cottons. 


Ninfa (V) 

A Venetian term for shirt collars.  


In the database, all ninfe were recorded in Venice. They appear to have been worn by men, women, and children. 


A shade of brown 




A certain eye-glass maker in Venice possessed hundreds of pairs of spectacles in his workshop. 


Umbrella or parasol. 


In our data, a Venetian innkeeper owned an old turquoise canvas umbrella, while a flour-seller from the same city possessed an umbrello fashioned from leather. 

Ongaresca (V) 

A type of a Venetian gown. 


In our data, three ongaresche appear in Venice, one of which was described as a grey ongaresca fashioned from natural fibers and lined in black leather (“una ongaresca de friseto beretino con la fodra de pele negre”). 


Hem, hemline. 


There are several examples of orlo in our data. A Sienese candle-maker’s inventory noted the presence of a long-sleeved, silk garment that was figured with a white trim on the hemline in good condition (“una turca cremisi di ermisino a opera con orletti bianchi buona”). 



Gold was frequently used to embellish various types of clothing and accessories. In our data, gold could be added to lace, embroidery, ornaments, aglets, ribbons, medallions, finishings, buttons, collars, and braids. For instance, a silk purple gown recorded in the household of a Florentine linen merchant was embroidered with gold and lined in purple taffetta (“una sottana di raso paonazzo ricamata d’oro e soppannata di taffetà paonazzo con sue mani che è punto”).  




There are twelve clocks in our data, most of which were recorded from inventories in Venice. An innkeeper, for instance, possessed a sun dial (?) of gilded copper  

(“un relogio da sol de rame dorato”). 

Ostea (V) 

Type of cloth, used in Venice. 


Popular in Venice, ostea was frequently used to fashion gowns. A green ostea gown with a bodice and sleeves was noted in the inventory of a Venetian clothes seller (“una vestura d’ostea verde con cassi e maneghe”). 




In our data, paglia was only used to fashion hats. For example, a straw hat with a white veil cord (“un cappello di paglia co cordone di velo bianco”) was recorded in the inventory of a  

Sienese green-grocer. 


Very light shade of yellow. This was similar to ‘fior di ginestra’, a colour considered very beautiful.  


Straw colour, a b. The former referred to ‘fresh’ and the latter to ‘dry’ straw colour. 


This brilliant and light tone of yellow was seen as in Italy as more acceptable than the negative ‘yellow’ 


A full-length cloak worn by men, often when traveling. Thought to have originated in Eastern Europe. 



In our data, mixed fabrics and wools were commonly used to fashion palandrane. 


According to Florio, “a peece of armour to arme the bellie, a bellie peece.”  


In our data, these were owned by a tailor, bread-maker, and haberdasher in Siena. 


A generic term for wool cloth. 


Panno appears frequently in our data and was used to created a wide variety of garments for men, women, and children, incluidng gowns, petticoats, coats, cloaks, cassocks, shirts, doublets, breeches, hose, hats and aprons. 

Panno da collo 

A type of scarf or kerchief? 


This terminology was found only in Sienese inventories. These cloths were made from a variety of materials could be trimmed and/or embroidered. A Sienese tailor, for instance, possessed four silk scarves for the neck that were embroidered with gold and silk (“quattro pannetti da collo di retino di seta lavorati con oro e seta”). 

Panno mistio 

Mixed woolen cloth. 


A child’s mantle crafted from panno mistio and lined with blue rovescio, another type of woolen fabric (“mantellino da bambini di panno misto foderato di rovescio azzurro”) was recorded in the inventory of a Florentine carpenter.  

Panno romagniolo 

A coarse woollen cloth, originating from Romagna. Could be used for lining garments. 


A new mantle crafted from romagniolo and lined with red perpignano, another type of woolen cloth (uno mantello di romagniuolo soppannati perpignano rosso nuovo) 

was recorded in the inventory of a  

Florentine wine-dealer. 


Linen cloth. 


Five pieces of fine linen cloth (“cinque pezze di pannolino sottile”) were recorded in the inventory of a Sienese baker. 


According to Florio, pappafico was “a kind of frock or gabardine to ride in.” 


Orsi Landini defines it as a “wimple-type hood that covered the shoulder and the throat”. According to Currie, this cloak was worn over the shoulder.  


The majority of the few examples in the database appear to have been quite elaborate items, fashioned in silk in various colors. 


Braid or ribbon used to hide seams or decorate hems. 


Silk, gold, silver, and wool were commonly used to fashion passamani. A Sienese bookseller’s inventory noted the presence of a jerkin with gold passamani (“un colletto con passamano di oro”). 


Deep bluish purple tending towards violet, or vivid, iridescent  purple. The colour was described as similar to that of peacock neck, not morello. A lighter shade of pavonazzo was called violato or purpureo, a shade between turchino and pavonazzo. 


Pavonazzo was an esteemed and honoured colour worn by  ‘cardinals and bishops’. But it was easy to adulterate, using most of the red dye sources, including kermes, grain, brazilwood, lac and madder. Perhaps for this reason, many artisans also had garments made of pavonazzo 


In our data, pavonazzo is most often found in connection with gowns and petticoats, as well as in doublets and sleeves. It is sometimes also used in cassocks, hats, scarves, ribbons and lining.  


Pavonazzo colour is most used on silk, then wool, and mixed fabrics. It is very rare on linen.  




Florio defines the word as “any kinde of furre or furred garment.” The term could also refer to the lining of the garment.  


In our data, this popular garment was fashioned using many different materials, including various furs, leathers, mixed fabrics, silks, and wools. It also came in several colors. 


A pendant. 


There are numerous examples of pendants in our data, most of which were recorded in Venice. Like other people made from a variety of materials, including silver, gold, coral, pearls, and precious stones.  


A feather, usually used to decorate hats. Most of the feathers were black, grey, and white. 


Feathers were frequently used also as trimmings or on accessories in our data. The inventory of a Venetian wool comber, for instance, includes a small fan with a squared reddish white feather with false silver (is this trans. right?) (“una ventolina de pena squadra e bianca con manego de arzento falso”).  


A pearl. 


In our data, pearls were used to trim garments or adorn pieces of jewelry. The inventory of a Florentine book-seller, for instance, noted the presence of three gold rings, one of which had a small pearl (“tre anella d’oro che uno ha una perla piccola e gli altri dua hanno due turchine”) and a Sienese baker had a goldn ring with a pearl (“Un anello di oro con perla”). 


A woolen fabric with a shiny surface, considered to be one of the new fabrics introduced in the 16th century. 


A greenish yellow petticoat made from perpetuana with sleeves adorned with spinette ribbons (“un gonnellino di perpetuana verdegiallo con sua maniche guarnito di spinetta”) was recorded in the inventory of a Florentine tailor. 


A widespread, affordable woolen cloth that originated from Perpignan in France, but was produced domestically at least in Florence by our period. 


Popular in Florence, perpignano was used to make a variety of popular garments, including gowns, cassocks, sleeves, petticoats, shirts, breeches, and stockings. For instance,  

A child’s cloak made of black perpignano (“una cappa di perpignano nero da fanciulli”) was recorded in the inventory of a Florentine dyer. 


A combing cloth, often decorated. 


More than 200 petttinatoi were recorded in our data. These accessories were commonly fashioned from natural fibers and silks and were often embroidered and trimmed. 


A scarf that  could be worn in various ways. 


Black, red, and pink appear to have been popular colors for pezze in our data. A Sienese greengrocer’s inventory, for instance, listed a woman’s small pezza of red silk wrapped around her chest (“una pezzetta di raso cremisi da petto per donne”). 


Slippers, often made of cloth with leather soles. Had open backs, similar to mules. Could also sometimes be worn over shoes. 


There are over  50 pairs pianelle recorded in our data. There are examples for both women and men. Many of these were functional footwear, such as the Sienese potter’s used pianelle (“un paro di pianelle da homo use”). Only two pairs of these were fine velvet women’s pianelle, recorded in a Florentine barber’s inventory (“dua paia di pianelle di velluto da donna”). 

Polana (V) 

Florio defines the term as “a kinde of course woollen colth.” 


Two old and stained pairs of red and white breeches crafted from polana were recorded in the inventory of a Venetian linen-maker (“doi para de braghesse de polana rosse e bianche vechie machiate”). 

Posta (V) 

A pocket or a bag. 


Florio defines it as “…a kinde of thinne silke stuffe.” 


Poste in our data were frequently fashioned from silk and came in a variety of colors, including black, white, grey, brown, blue, red, and green. A Venetian dyer’s inventory, for instance, noted the presence of a pair of poste in aquamarine blue colour (“un par di poste d’aqua de mar”). 

Pretina (V) 

Probably a kind of a cassock popular in Venice 


The examples in the database demonstrate that this garment was frequently fashioned in black from silk, wool, mixed fabrics, and/or natural fibers.   


A dagger. 


In our data, there are 67 daggers noted in various conditions. Some were recorded as being old, and others had been made with fine materials, including a dagger with a silver handle and its own sword belt (“un pugnale con suo cinturino e manica d’argento”). 


Points or aglets. 


In our data, punte are mentioned in relation to the garment or accessory that they adorned. Most were fashioned in gold, as seen in this example from a Sienese barrel-maker’s housed which noted the presence of a taffetta apron with gold points (“un grembiule di taffetta con pontina di oro”) 

Punto aria 

A type of needle lace. 


In our data, some examples were fashioned from natural fibers including, mussolo and accia. 


A strong  woollen fabric called rash.  


Currie notes that this was an inexpensive woollen fabric in the fifteenth century; however, in the sixteenth-century, rash became a wool of high quality that was sold at high prices.  


Rascia, commonly fashioned in black, appeared frequently in our data. For example, a man’s tunic made from black rascia with sleeves of grey silk (“uno saio da huomo di rascia nera con le maniche di filaticcio bigiocattino”) was recorded in the inventory of a Florentine delicatessen operator. 


Satin, which is a type of basic weave fashioned with silk yarns. 


Various types of clothing and accessories were crafted from raso in our data. It could also be embellished, embroidered, trimmed, slashed, and/or lined. The household of a Venetian clothes seller, for instance, contained a woman’s petticoat of yellow raso trimmed with red raso and lined with fox fur (“una carpetta da donna de raso zallo intagia de raso cremesin fodra de volpe”). 


Linen thread. Rese could also refer to a durable type of linen.  



This natural fiber was commonly used for knitting and embroidery. For example, a pair of knitted sleeves if refe (“un par di maniche fatte a aco di refe”) was recorded in the inventory of a Sienese second-hand dealer. A Sienese barrel-maker’s household, in turn, recorded the presence of a used woman’s shirt that was embroidered with medium blue refe (“una camicia da donna lavorata di refe turchino usa”). 


High-quality fine linen cloth, often embroidered. 


In our data, this natural fiber fabric was commonly used to fashion shirts, kerchiefs, sleeves, collars, and cuffs. For example, a worn man’s shirt made from rensa was included in the inventory of a Venetian weigher (“1 camisa da huomo di renso vechia”). 


A fabric or thread made from natural fibers. 


A collar fashioned from knit resecurato with pleated collars (“un collare di maglia di resecurato a lattughe”) was recorded in the inventory of a Sienese leather tanner. 


A decorative net or network used by women, for example, as hairnets or in partlets. 


Most of the examples in our database were fashioned from silk, wool, and gold and silver thread. For instance, a Florentine barber’s inventory contained a rete fashioned from gold and seven fine versions made in silk of various colors 

(“una rete d’oro, sette fini di seta di piu colori”). 


Mesh or any sort of net-work. 


Rete was commonly used for trimmings and accessories. For example, a woman’s gold and silk snood (“1 rete d’oro et di seta da donna”) was recorded in the inventory of a Florentine carpenter. 


An early form of lace, or cutwork, fashioned with needle embroidery. Reticella was made of threads at were pulled from linen fabric to make a “grid” on which the pattern was stitched. 


In our data, reticella was commonly used for trimming garments and accessories. A Sienese rope-maker’s inventory, for instance, recorded the presence of a wool apron with fringe and reticella (“uno spalagrembo di pannicello con frangia e reticella”). 


A mesh or gauze type fabric, used as an alternative to high-priced lace. 


Popular in Siena, aprons, kerchiefs, scarves, snoods, and collars were frequently fashioned from retino 

A colored retino scarf worn on the head and embroidered with gold and silk (“un panetto di retino da testa colorato lavorato con oro e seta”) was noted in an inventory of a Sienese grinder. 


Embroidery, typically adorning bands or sewn directly on fabric. 


Embroidery was typically fashioned from silk, gold, and/or silver thread and could appear in a variety of colors.  


A bodice, like imbusto. 


In our data, there are several examples of rimbuste being trimmed or embroidered. 


Frogging, which was a type of fastening with rod-like buttons and loops. 


In our data, riscontri were mentioned alongside the garments or textiles that possessed the decorative technique.  

The household of a Florentine sculptor, for instance, recorded a greenish-yellow silk zimarra with riscontri (“una zimarra di filaticcio verdegiallo con riscontri”). 


A type of wool. 


Popular in Siena, a variety of garments, including gowns, cloaks, sleeves, petticoats, and kerchiefs were fashioned from this versatile wool. A Sienese weaver’s household, for instance, possessed a scarf to worn on the shoulders from red Florentine rivercio with a small gold cord 

(“un pannetto da spalle di rivercio fiorentino rosso co cordellino di oro”). 


Narrow strips or bands of decorations, or rivets, applied for decorative purposes. 


In our data, a Sienese bookseller’s inventory recorded two used collars with trimmings and rivetti. 


A russet colour, shade of brown. According to Florio, a ‘colour of a horse’. 


Roan is most commonly used in our data  on items of wool and to a lesser extent on mixed and vegetable fibres. 

Romana (V) 

A long, unisex gown popular in Venice, classified as a tunic or cassock in our database. It was open at the front and used at home or for modest ceremonial occasions. 


In our data, romane only appeared in Venice, and the garments were fashioned from a wide variety of fine materials, including silks, wools, gold/silver, furs, mixed fabrics, natural fibers, and leather. Basic colors, like black, brown, and grey were popular choices, and they were also frequently lined.   

Romanetta (V) 

A Venetian term specifying a type of decorative band, or a small metal decoration. 


In our data, silk, gold, and/or silver thread were frequently used when fashionign romanette. The inventory of a Venetian dyer, for instance, noted the presence of a pair of mixed-fabric breeches with silk and gold romanette (“un par de bragese zambellotto de sope con romanete de seda e oro”). 


Costly red, or rose colour, or murray, dyed with madder or grain, but this was a less costly dye than cremisi. 


Rosaro in  our data is always connected to woollen itmes. The colour ‘rosa’ is also used on silk, especially for  sleeves.  



Dusty pink. “Dry-rose” crimson colour, or murray-colour. The colour was close to avinato but the two were clearly two distinct hues. Chiara Buss has found out from chemical analyses that rosasecca could be treated with redwoods and young fustic, while avinato was dyed only with redwoods.  


Rosasecca di cremisi was a shade of crimson red : a shade obtained by giving the the red a final bath in orchil 


A hair ornament with rosettes, or a rose shaped type of adornment attached to, for example, shoes. 


In our data, a Sienese leather-tanner’s inventory recorded a small rosetta of gold that also had a garnet (“una rosettina di oro di filo con un granato”). 


Red.   Red was seen as a cheerful colour that brings a degree of joy and happiness to those who wear it. The colour was also associated with high status and bringing ‘prestige to cardinals’.   


Rosso could be dyed with a range of red dyes, including grain, madder and redwoods, ‘Red’ (rosso) is  most often found in our data on items of wool, then silks, and only sometimes on mixed and imitation fabrics and vegetables.  


The colour is connected to a range of different types of items, such as night-shirts, sleeves, and hose. Also hats and doublets are sometimes described ‘rosso’.  These were usually wool or silk. 



Simple wool cloth, with one side of pile likely teased. 


In our data, rovescio was frequently fashioned in red, white, grey, and black. For example, a tattered, red petticoat fashioned from rovescio (“un gamurrino di rovescio rosso stracciato”) was recorded in an inventory of a Florentine innkeeper.  


Rust color, a lighter version of tanè, similar to giuggiolino. 

Saia (c.) 

A generic term for a female gown. Also see cotta. Also refers to a type of wool twill. 


In our data, these garments were frequently made from wool and appeared in a variety of colors, including green, yellow, purple, brown, red, and blue. 

Saia (mat.) 

Twill woollen cloth. 


This popular woollen cloth was frequently recorded in our data. A Sienese apothecary’s inventory, for instance, noted the presence of cloak of saia with a lustrous finish and a collar of uncut velvet (“un ferraiolo di saia drappata co bavaro di velluto riccio”). 

Saia lucchesina 

Fine wool twill. See lucchesina. 


In the inventory of a Sienese shoemaker, a trimmed petticoat fashioned from purple saia lucchesina  

(“un camurrino di saia lucchesina pavonazza guarnito con guarnitioni”) is recorded. 


Fine twill cloth fashioned from wool rash. Florio defines it as “a kinde of fine serge or cloth for coates, is is also rash” 


Popular in Siena, saietta was commonly used to fashion gowns, petticoats, cloaks, cassocks, and breeches. The household of a Sienese painter, for instance, possessed a child’s petticoat crafted from pink saietta with gold and white finishings 

(“un camorrino di saetta ncarnata da citta con finimento dorè e bianco”). 


A tunic that extended to the mid-thighs and had sleeves, often worn by men. 


There are over 400 examples of saio  in our data, most of which were fashioned in black from various wools, mixed fabrics, or silks. 


A male garment that was open at the sides and typically worn over a doublet. Originally worn by peasants, but became popular with the upper-classes as well. 


In our data, the santambarco was typically fashioned from black or brown wool. 

Sarza (V) 

Serge, a loosely woven woollen fabric that had many different varieties. The warp was usually worsted, the weft was wool. Could be mixed with linen or silk. 


Popular in Venice, black appeared to be a common color for garments fashioned in sarza in our data. Green, brown, blue, and purple examples also appear; however, at much less frequency. A gown made from Flemmish sarza with a train (“1 vestura de sarza de Fiandra negra cum coda”), for instance, was recorded in a Venetian cap-maker’s inventory. 



A rectangular mantle or a large cloak originating from Spain, worn by women as a covering over the head and shoulders. The garment enveloped the whole figure, from head to foot and it might have been worn wrapped under one arm and knotted at the opposite shoulder. 


Florio defines sbernia as “a kinde of upper garment which friers use to weare, an Irish rugge or mantle, a gabardine. 


Sbernie were going out of fashion by the mid sixteenth century. There are four examples cited in our data, all of which were fashioned from various types of wool and/or mixed fabrics, including saia, rascia, and ferrandina. 


Scarlet red, dyed with kermes or ‘grain’. Scarlet, a deep vermilion red, . was rich in colour and it was considered very beautiful and fine. Reds dyed with grain verged slightly towards orange. 


Scarlatto refers normally specifically to grain-dyed wool, but in our data  we also find some items of silk and even of natural fibres described as scralatto.  

Like cremisi, scarlatto is associated most often with kirtles and petticoats, but we also find hose and stockings and a few gowns and doublets in scarlet.  


Scarlatto (V) 

Scarlet woollen cloth. Scarlet was an expensive red, dyed on wool with the costly insect dye known as kermes or ‘grain’. 


In our artisanal data, scarlatto was mostly found in Venice. For example, a child’s scarlatto gown with fox-fur lining and gold was recorded in the inventory of a clothes seller in Venice. 


Shoes, often made from leather.  


While shoes were not necessarily always recorded in hosuehold inventories, there are over thousand shoes mentioned in our data. White appeared to be a popular color, and scarpe were fashioned from various materials, including leather, wool, silk, and natural fibers. A Florentine hosier’s inventory, for instance, recorded one pair of velvet shoes, one red pair, one white pair, and another yellow pair that was used (“1 paio di scarpe di velluto, 1 paia rosse, 1 paio bianche, e 1 altro gialle usate”).  


A light-weight over-gown or tunic for women. 


In our data, the garment was commonly fashioned in natural fibers like tela, as well as silk. 



An early model of firearm.  


There are varying types of schioppi recorded (categorized as fucili) in our data. A Sienese trumpet player, for instance, owned two wheel-lock arquebuses, one that was long and a shorter version that was two braccia in length (“due stioppi a ruota uno longo e uno da braccio co le chiavi di essi).” 

Sciamito (V) 

Samite, a fine quality silk cloth, commonly adorned with gold and silver threads. According to Florio, it could also be of half silk, half wool, similar to buratto.   


Popular in Venice, sciamito was frequently fashioned in black. For instance, a worn doublet fashioned from black sciamito with purple, wool sleeves (“1 zipon di samito negro cum manege di pano paonazo vechio”) was recorded in the inventory of a Venetian cap maker. 


A sort of shawl, or a walking dress, most typically worn by women. 


A popular color for sciolte was red, as several examples in the data were produced in this color. It appears that women, children, and men owned versions of sciolte. A widow’s sciolta was also recorded.  


A cloth that might be worn on the head or neck. Also could be a towel. 


There are varying types of examples of sciugatoi in our data, including ones that were specifically designated for the head, neck, and shoulders. Adorning elements were also common. For instance, a Florentine tailor’s inventory had a sciugatoio fashioned from red silk with white and red fringe (“uno sciugatoio di seta rossa con frangie bianche e rosse”). 


A collar, band or partlet decorating the neckline. 


In our data, scollati came in a variety of colors and fabrics. In the inventory of a Florentine barber, for instance, two trimmed scollati were recorded, one of red silk and another of lace of gold (“dua scollati lavorati, uno di seta rossa et uno coltrina d’oro”). 

Scotto (V) 

Florio defines the term as “a kinde of course woollen stuffe.” 


Scotto was only recorded in Venice and was frequently fashioned in brown or black. For example, a pair of brown scotto sleeves (“un paro di maniche di scotto rovano”) was recorded in the household of a Venetian tailor. 

Sessa (V) 

Possibly a type of mixed fabric.  


A used woman’s apron fashioned from sessa (“una traversa da donna di sessa usata”) was recorded in the inventory of a Venetian clothes seller.  


Silk fabric or silk yarn. 


Seta was frequently mentioned in our data and it was utilized for a wide variety of garments, accessories, and trims. A Sienese bookseller’s inventory, for instance, noted the presence of a pair of silk purple stockings with black silk garters (“un paro di calsette di seta pavonazze con legaccie di seta nere”). 


Florio defines the term as “a kind of thin silke stuffe like burato or mokado, silken, made or wrought of silke.” 


A black woolen cassock with setino sleeves (“una casacca di saietta nera co maniche di setino”) was recorded in the inventory of a Sienese furrier.  


A shade of red, similar to vinado. 


Sguardo was probably considered a relatively fine sahde because, in our data, it was nearly always used on silk. We find hose and stockings as well as skirts in sguardo, while vinado is associated with gown and kirtles.   


Si e no 

Seems to refer to a type of woollen fabric. 


A pair of grey breeches crafted from si e no were noted in an inventory of a Sienese candle maker. They were used and in good condition (“un paio di calsoni di si e no bertini buoni e usi.”) 


A lining, often made of linen for practical (not decorative) purposes. 


Many of the examples in the data were fashioned from rovescio, tela, and taffeta. 


Upper hose. Florio defines “sopra calcie” as “upper hosen, boothosen, drawing slops.” 


There are only two examples of sopracalze in our database, both of which were owned by an innkeeper in Florence. 


A petticoat or a simple gown with sleeves. 


This was a typical women’s garment, often worn with an over-gown such  as a zimarra or la veste so that only the sleeves, neckline and front skirt sections were visible. There are about 250 sottane recorded in the data, most of which were fashioned from different kinds of silk in a variety of colors. 



A sword. 


There are over one hundred spade recorded in our inventories. For example, a Sienese apothecary had a sword with ‘modern’ finishings (“una spada con finimenti assai moderni”), while a Florentine linen-merchant possessed a sword with a black, silk handle (“due spade co maniche di argento”). 


A type of an apron that could be secured via shoulders. 


In our data, spalagrembi were only recorded in Siena and were donned by men, women, and children alike. They appeared in a variety of silks, wools, mixed fabrics, and natural fibers, and some were embroidered. Some spalagrembi were knitted. 




A Sienese coppersmith’s inventory recorded the presence of a pair of spurs (“un pari di speroni”). 



Pins for fastening. 


In our data, spilli were often used as sewing tools. An inventory of a Florentine tailor, for instance, recorded 48,000 small, white spilli 

(“48 mila di spilli piccoli bianchi”). 


A type of ribbon or cord, plaited in a herringbone pattern. This was characteristic of the decoration of clothing in Florence during the second half of the 16th-century. 


Spinette were only present in the Florentine inventories in our data. A blacksmith’s household, for instance, noted the presence of a green silk petticoat or simple gown adorned with a green spinette (“una sottana di filaticcio verde fornite di spinetta verde”). 


A high-grade wool, often used for knitted garments, such as stockings and sleeves. 


There are many examples of this versatile woolen material in our data. Our records include a Florentine tailor, for instance, who had 158 pairs of stockings in his workshop, crafted from French stame (“tredici dozzine e dua paia di calze di stame da donna di Francia”).  




A stamped pair of red, mixed fabric sleeves in used condition (“un per di maniche di ciambelotto stampato rosso uso”) were recorded in the inventory of a Sienese miller. 




In our data, stivali were frequently fashioned in black or white and from leather and/or fur. A Florentine innkeeper’s inventory, for instance, recorded a pair of white leather boots in good condition “un paio di stivali di camoscio bianchi buoni”). 


A lower-quality linen or hemp. 


Six kerchiefs crafted from stoppa (“sei facioli de tella de stoppa”) were recorded in the inventory of a Venetian coppersmith. 


A  stripe or a band.  


Striche were found only in our Venetian inventories. A fruit-seller’s inventory, for instance, recorded a worn red silk skirt striped with yellow silk (“una carpetta de raso rosso stricha de raso zallo usada”). 


Laces used to tie garments together. 


In our data, there are hundreds of stringhe fashioned from a variety of materials, including silk, leather, and silver thread. For example, the household of a Sienese silk-worker possessed 14 dozen silk stringhe in various colors (“quattordici dozzine di stringhe di seta di più colori”). 

Striscia (V) 

Strips of fabric used for trimming. 


In our data, striscia were only found in Venice, and were most commonly fashioned in silk. The inventory of a wine-seller in the city noted the presence of a skirt made of red wool, trimmed with yellow silk striscia (“una carpeta de pano rosso con striche de raso zallo”). 


A loose cloak similar to a cappotto, or  a sleeveless over-gown or tabard, fastened at the front.  


Brown and black wool were frequently used for tabarri in our data. 


Tabby silk. A kind of medium-quality, glossy taffeta with a thick weft, could also be mixed waste silk and/or flax. 

Often with a moiré effect. 


Tabi was often trimmed, slashed, embroidered, and lined in our inventories. Watering and waving were common textile techniques. In the household of a Florentine linen merchant, for instance, a gown and petticoat with a bust and sleeves was crafted from green waved tabi and also trimmed with gold (“una zimarra e sottana con bustino e maniche di tabi verde a onde fornita d’oro”). 

Tachia (V) 

Venetian term for a coif or a snood, an ornamental hairnet or bag worn over the hair. Also see cuffia. 


In our data, tachie appeared to be commonly fashioned from white tela. A cap-maker’s inventory in Venice, for instance, noted the presence of two tachie of white tela (“do tacchie di tella bianche”). 


A plain and light, glossy silk. 


Taffeta was a popular silk in our database. It could be used for making, lining and trimming garments and accessories. For instance, a pair of red breeches with stockings were crafted with purple taffetà (“1 paio di braconi rossi con taffetà pagonazzo con calzini”).  


A scarf or kerchief typically made from taffeta, a plain, woven silk. Could also refer to the fabric itself. 


The examples in our database were commonly fashioned from black, green, and purple taffeta. Finishings like trimming and embroidery were also popular. For instance, a Florentine linen-merchant’s inventory recorded a multicolored, striped taffeta that was trimmed with gold ribbon, along with a pair of matching sleeves (“un taffeta overo uno tachino vergato incarnato turchino e bianco guarnito di nastrino di oro con dua paia di maniche del medesimo”). 


Slashed or pinked, or decorated with small decorative cuts. Slashing and pinking as decorative techniques was popular in the sixteenth century. 


In our data, slashes were commonly used to decorate garments. For instance, two yellow, slashed silk doublets and adorned with silver buttons (doi ziponi de teleta zala tagiadi con botoni d’argento) were recorded in an inventory of a soap maker in Venice. 


Tawny brown, or dark beige. The lighter shade was called tanè di mezzo colore and even a ligther version was called leonato, while tanè that verged to black was called cupo. 


Generally, brown colour, like grey, was associated with humility and religion. Dull browns and  beige were considered colours of the the lower classes and the poor.  


In our data, tawny brown, is used predominantly on wool but there are also examples silk dyed in tanè. The colour is found commonly on gowns, hose and petticoats. 


A pocket or bag, typcially fixed to a garment. 


In our data, tasche were fashioned in a variety of colors and materials. For intance, a Florentine arms-maker’s inventory noted the presence of a taschetta made of green and red velvet (“una taschetta di velluto verde e rossa”). 


Any sort of basic weave, usually referring to vegetable yarns, including linen, hemp, and cotton. 


This natural fiber was frequently mentioned in our database. It was commonly used for making aprons, shirts, stockings, hose, doublets, and bodices. For instance,  

Tela bottana 

A type of linen or cotton, frequently used for lining. 


Florio defines it as “a kinde of flanell or such stuffe.” 


Tela bottana was found only in our Venetian inventories. The inventory of a Venetian construction worker, for instance, recorded a pair of men’s breeches with a doublet fashioned from this natural fiber (“uno paro de braghesse con uno comeso de botana da homo.”) 


Tabby, a sort of thick, shiny taffeta, frequently adorned with gold and silver threads. 


Popular in Siena, teletta was frequently used for making sleeves, cloaks, and hats. For example, a woman’s hat crafted from pinked teletta (“un cappello di teletta piccato da donne”) was recorded in the inventory of a Sienese leather maker. 


A coarse, low-budget silk derived from flawed cocoons, similar to filusello silk, or a taffeta with warp in a different fibre from the weft. 


In our data, terzanello was commonly fashioned in black. In the inventory of a Florentine green grocer, three pairs of worn men’s breeches were crafted from black, striped terzanella  

(“tre paia di calzoni da huomo di terzanella neri vergati vecchi). 


An apron, popular in Venice. 


Worn by men, women, and children, traverse were commonly made from natural fibers, incuding tela, lino, bambagia, and cambrese. 


Braids or cords worn as accessories or for trimming garments. 


Various materials were used for fashioning treccia. In our data, there are examples made from wool, silk, gold, coral, and mixed fabrics. For instance, in the inventory of a Sienese shoemaker, there was a piece of jewelry described as a treccia of coral with small silver buttons was recorded. (“una treccia di coralli co bottoncini di argento”). 


A scarf or kerchief (?) 


In our data, trinciante appear to have been frequently made from natural fibers. A Sienese furrier’s inventory, for instance, recorded an embroidered trinciante fashioned from brown linen cloth (un trinciante di panno lino dino lavorato di ruggine).” 


Lace often used for trimming. 


There are numerous examples of trine recorded in our data. Most were fashioned from silk, gold, and/or silver. For instance, a Florentine innkeeper’s household recorded a brown taffetta apron in good condition trimmed with lace trim of gold  

(“uno grembiule di taffeta tane con trina d’oro buono”). 


A sleeved, long garment that likely had an opening at the front.  


In our data, these cloaks were fashioned in a variety of colors and fabrics. They could also be adorned with trimming, slashing, lining, embroidery, and/or fabrics that were lustrous, figured, changeable, waved, and/or striped.  


Medium blue dyed with woad, often rich in colour. According to Corsuccio, turchino should be appropriately called fior di guado 

A very lighter version of this colour was called ‘sky blue’, or celeste, considered to be ‘faded’. 


Blue had many meanings in the Renaissance period. Rich deep blue was associated with chastity and scared, while light blue colour represented a young marriageable woman. In England, blue had been traditionally been the color of servitude. 



Turchino was very popular at the end of the 16th century. In our data, it was the most common blue. It was used for all types of fabrics and used to dye gowns, petticoats, hose and sleeves. 


Very fine, high-quality linen. 


Popular in Siena, ulivello was commonly used to make collars, coifs, kerchiefs, and aprons. For instance, a Sienese shoemaker’s household contained a ulivello apron embroidered with red silk (“uno spalagrembo di ulivello lavorato di seta cremisi”). 


Children’s gown that has buttons in the front, worn by both boys and girls. 


The examples in the data stem from Venice and were frequently lined and made from wool, fur, and/or mixed fabric.  

Vaio (V) 

A general term for fur, especially the fur from a grey squirrel that has a white underbelly.  

In the household of a Venetian spinner, for instance, there was an old gown of green mocaiardo, which was lined with squirrel fur (“una romana de mochaiaro verde fodra de dossi vechia”). 


In our data, vaio was commonly used for linings and facings, and mostly appeared in our inventories from Venice. 

A Sienese leather worker had a baptismal gown with facings of vaio (“Un mantellino da battesimo co mostre di vaio cuperto di catalufa”). 


Florio defines this term as “fine, slender velvet.” 


In the inventory of a Sienese bookseller, there was an outfit comprising a gown, petticoat, and sleeves fashioned from a yellow- medium blue vellutino that was also trimmed with gold (“un abito cioè zimarra, sottana e maniche di vellutino giuggiolino turchino con guarnizioni di oro”) 


Velvet, which is silk with a thick surface pile on one side. This costly fabric could be either plain, figured (operato), or brocaded (broccato), and it could come with a cut (tagliato) or uncut (riccio) pile, or a combination of these and/or different heights of pile (eg. riccio sopra riccio). Satin ground patterned velvet was called zetani vellutati. 


Although cheaper and lighter silks were increasingly popular, velvet was extremely common in our data and was used to fashion a wide variety of garments, accessories, and trims. For instance, a knife enclosed in a velluto sheath with a silver ring (“una guaina di velluto con ghiere di argento entrovi un coltello”) was recorded in the inventory of a Florentine wine seller. 




There are numerous types of veils in our data, most of which were fashioned from silks, mixed fabrics, gold, and/or silver. For instance, a Venetian liquor-maker’s inventory noted the presence of 5 women’s veils, some with gold, some without (“cinque velli da dona con oro e senza”). Veli speficially designated for use on the neck or shoulders are also mentioned. 




Velo was used to fashion numerous items in our data, some of which include gowns, ribbons, aprons, veils, kerchiefs, coifs, collars, and hats. In the inventory of a Sienese hat maker, for instance, two women’s kerchiefs meant to be worn on the head were crafted from velo and embroidered (“due fazzoletti di velo lavorati da capo per donna”). 


A fan, typically hung from a belt. 


There are over 50 inventories that mention fans in our data. Examples were fashioned from a wide variety of materials, including silk, gold, silver, feathers, fur, bone, and ivory. A feather-dealer in Venice, for instance, owned two new white fans fashioned from goose feathers. One was adorned with gold and the other was not (“doi ventoli de penne d’ocha uno con oro et l’altro senza oro bianchi nuovi”). 


Charged Green. A rich, dark good green colour, considered beautiful because it associated with nature. A darker hue was called verde oscuro or verde buio, and our sample also includes verdemare, a green in the colour of sea. 


Bright greens were associated with youth, love and joy, but some shades, such as verde bruno (which referred to mourning), was according to Florio ‘a sad or dark green’.  



Green is most often used in gowns, kirtles and petticoats, but we also find cassocks, cloaks and hose, as well as in aprons, sleeves and ribbons in verde. The most common fabric is  wool, then silk, but mixed fabrics, and linens and cottons are also in verde 




Vivid shade of green that verged heavily towards yellow. According to Corsuccio, this colour, nearly yellow, was used much at the end of 16th century.  


Dark bluish green.  







Stripes on fabric appeared to come in a variety of colors, including blue, yellow, brown, black, white, and red. A Florentine innkeeper’s inventory, for instance, noted the presence of a worn-down silk doublet striped with green silk with brown wool sleeves (“un giubbone del detto Oratio di filaticcio vergato di seta verde con maniche di saia tane cattivo”). 


A gown, or it could also be a generic term for a suit of clothes, like vestito 


Florio describes the “vesta” as “any kinde of garment, robe, mantle, attyre, clothing, sute, vesture, a weede, vestment, or habite. …”  


There are more than 1,000 veste and vesture recorded in our data. These are made in a variety of materials and colors, but black seems to have been the most popular. Some veste were also recorded with particular attributes,  such as ‘for mourning’, or for priests, fishermen, or for hunting. 

Veste (la) 

A  gown, usually for women, made up of bodice and skirt, with narrow decorative sleeves.  


La veste was the main garment worn over a petticoat or a skirt and it could be combined with an over-gown such  as a zimarra or a roba for important  occasions. 


Most garments described as la veste in our data seem to have been made of mixed fabrics such as camlet or mocaiardo, or waste silks, such as filaticcio or capicciola.    


A gown, or a suit of men’s clothes (also see vesta/vestura), which according to Orsi Landini might include a vesta, saio or cioppetella, doublet, beret, belt and scabbard. Florio describes the term as “…any sute of apparell, rayment, ornament, trimming, or apparelling.” 


In our artisan data, a vestito typically referred to a men’s suit of clothes, made up of doublet, breeches, cassock  and/or cloak. There are also different types of vestiti, including three examples made for giving birth (vestito da parto).    


A scarf or kerchief. 


The term viletta only surfaced in our Sienese inventories. These accessories appeared to be predominantly fashioned from silks and natural fibers. A bread-maker’s household recorded a viletta that was five-braccia long (“un viletto longo di cinque braccia”). 


Wine red colour, dyed on redwoods.  



Fox fur. 


In our data, volpe was frequently used for lining garments, as well as crafting coats and muffs. A Sienese smith and mason’s household, for instance, recorded the presence of a muff fashioned from fox fur adorned with purple and white damask (“una manichino di volpe co damasco pavonazzo e bianco.”) 


A long and voluminous gown with narrow sleeves and a large hood thought to be popular in Turkey and Greece. 


In our data, there are four examples of this garment recorded in Venice. They were all fashioned in wool, but each one appeared in a different color: red, black, brown, and blue. Trimming and lining were also common features. 


Long, loose over-gown, often sleeveless, worn by both women and men. Typically worn over a doublet, an under-gown or a gown, such as a sottana or la veste. The female garment might also include decorative hanging sleeves. 


There are nearly 500 zimarre recorded in our database, which were primarily fashioned from various kinds of wools, silks, and mixed fabrics. Worn by women, men, and children, the most popular colors were black, green, and brown. Our data also incudes a black woollen zimarra da vedova used by widows in mourning. 




In our data, zoccoli were popular in Venice. Over 300 pairs are recorded, and black and white appear to have been common colors. A carver’s household, for instance, registered three pairs, one of which was fashioned from embroidered white silk, one from red silk, and another in leather (“zocholi para tre uno de raso bianco recamadi de cremesina, uno de damasco cremesin et uno de coro vechi”).